We slept in late on the morning of the 10th ready for a day of recuperation after our trip. The first thing we wanted to do was drive past the Gladney care centers where Tate was staying. We were scheduled to meet him the next morning along with the 8 other families that were traveling at that time.
Our driver drove past the houses and it really was torture knowing that Tate was just behind a couple of walls. As we were "stalking" the center, Travis and Joanna, part of the in country staff, were driving by and stopped us. We kinda felt that we had been caught.:) Travis and Joanna gave us a run down of the week and we got our plan for the next day.
We then went to lunch at Island Breeze. This was our favorite place to eat in Ethiopia. Brian is an extremely picky eater and we probably ate there at least every other day. By the time we left, we new the staff by name! GREAT American food! Our favorite things were the chicken burgers, pizza, fajitas.
The rest of the day was spent buying souvenirs and resting. We were going to meet Tate the next day!!!
The next morning we met the other traveling families at the Gladney care center for our instructions for our visit. It was really cool to be able to meet families that I had blog stalked and had never met.
After our instructions, we were lead to Tate's house. Walking up to the house, I had to fight back the tears when I thought that this was where Tate had spent the majority of his life.
We walked up the stairs and led to Tate's room. Tate was not there but we did get a glimpse of his crib. (his was the middle one)
We walked into the hallway and waited for him to be brought in from "sun time". I was nervous that they would bring Tate in and I wouldn't recognize him in person. I first saw the back of his curly little head as he was being carried upstairs and I knew it was him immediately. The worker walked right by me and I am pretty sure I forgot how to breath. When we walked back into his room he was standing in his little crib.
I didn't know what to do. I didn't want to scare him to death so I just bent down and started stroking his little hair and just repeatedly said, "Hi". I finally picked him up and Brian and I took turns holding him and talking to him.
It took him about 20 minutes for him to warm up to us. One of the caregivers did help bring him out of his shell and got him grinning a little for us.
Our first family picture!
I had received a locket from a good friend right after our referral and had worn it while we were waiting to pick him up. Tate instantly loved the necklace. He loved to open and close it and look at his picture. (Stay tuned for more of the locket story later.)
Our first visit with Tate went perfectly. It was so hard to leave but we knew that he would be with us forever very soon!